from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE – THERE is global outcry over the kidnapping of 70 schoolchildren in Cameroon’s English speaking region.
Militants advocating for the independence of the volatile North-West
region of the country are accused of the mass kidnapping, which also saw ten adults abducted.
They have been abducted from a school in Nkwen, Bamenda city, which is among areas worst affected by violence emanating from English speakers accusing the national government dominated by French-speakers of marginalizing them.
“The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified.
Whoever is responsible must release and return the victims immediately,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy regional director.
Daoud said it was vital that Cameroon’s government acted swiftly and decisively to reunite abducted victims with their families.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all the abducted children .
Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF regional director, expressed concern.
“Attacks on schools are a violation of children’s right and schools should be safe spaces and protected at all times,” the envoy said.
Violence and unrest in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions escalated in late 2016 after a series of strikes and protests against what teachers, lawyers and students viewed as ongoing discrimination against Anglophones.
They have since become a hotbed for horrific human rights abuses.
Armed separatists burned down schools and attacked teachers, while security forces have tortured people, open fired on crowds and destroyed villages.
Hundreds of people have been killed during the crisis.
– CAJ News